Analytics: Between Can and Could
Security video can alert to motion within a series of images. Security video could analyze facial movements to understand emotions and attitudes of an individual.
It’s the difference between today and one day.
In an effort to explore where analytics is now, where it is going and what benefits it provides, a survey of enterprise security executives, industry research firms, integrators and industry leaders found that there’s plenty of current applications but that the technology is evolving as it overcomes its checkered past.
No Killer App YetNo doubt, the security market is still searching for its “killer application” and the markets for video content analysis software and intelligent video surveillance devices have not progressed as quickly as previously predicted, according to IMS Research’s Niall Jenkins. “Business intelligence analytics, such as people counting or queue length monitoring, have a number of installation advantages over typical security applications such as perimeter protection. Security applications generally encounter variable lighting conditions and must deal with weather variations from sunshine to rain to snow. They are also required to deal with environmental factors, such as trees moving in the wind, which require a high level of tuning and calibration to reduce the number of false alarms generated. Business intelligence analytics are predominantly operating in a more controlled environment and can, therefore, be tuned and calibrated much quicker.
“Another advantage of business intelligence analytics is that systems not one hundred percent accurate still provide value,” continues Jenkins. “In security applications, end users cannot afford to miss a potential security breach; however, business intelligence algorithms can provide reliable trend information despite not always counting every person that enters a retail or commercial location. It is fair to say that in the short to medium term, security applications will remain the bread and butter.”
At the EdgeEdge-based video analytics systems are largely self-contained and can easily work alongside third party solutions. Integration with video management software can provide situational awareness by displaying alarm and target information, including the nature of the threat. Edge-based systems can supply both digital images and a secure XML metadata stream or data tags containing target information (such as size, velocity and bearing).
In the tricky world of outdoor surveillance, where seasons change and leaves blow, video analytics-enabled cameras are now available specifically for outdoor use that have substantially more processing power within the camera to filter out and compensate for outdoor variables, enabling more accurate detection over even greater areas.
Fighting TerrorismIn high-security environments, such as airports or hospitals, it is expected that video analytics will play a critical role by alerting security to a variety of potential threats in real-time, and through situational awareness to quickly assess and react.
One example comes from the very tough streets of Karachi. The Pakistani government has a $151.7 million “Safe City Karachi” project that is expected to be completed in two years to fight terrorism and crime, improve traffic monitoring and overall public safety and security through video surveillance. The major components of the surveillance system include video cameras that provide feed from all the surveillance points, underlying fiber and other network and back-up on wireless connectivity to securely carry video feeds, the command and control centers to store and monitor these incoming feeds, and video analytics to automate the monitoring and surveillance functions such as automatic number plate recognition.
Store of the FutureThere is unique, additional focus on retail uses.
According to Francis D’Addario, emeritus faculty, strategic influence and protection innovation, with the Security Executive Council, the council is sponsoring a project entitled “Store of the Future 2020” that will integrate video and audio data intelligence capabilities for people, asset, and transaction protection. Current development partners include the Aronson Security Group (ASG), the FireKing Security Group and Verint. “Our initial proof point includes a demonstration of the concept at ASG’s ‘Great Conversation,’ a multi-sector security summit in Seattle this month. Test beds will evolve capabilities throughout 2010 and beyond,” D’Addario says.
Analytics and OfficersVideo analytics has ability to work with security officers. Jerry Cordasco, vice president of operations for the G4S Security Monitoring Data Center, points out that analytics can now trigger actionable video from fixed cameras or through a virtual guard tour. His center remotely monitors facilities with hosted video, access control and two-way audio tools. The actionable information collected can then more efficiently trigger response by G4S Wackenhut officers.
A kind of analytics can take on after-hours patrolling through a camera. At Arizona’s Grand Canyon West Resort, a tourist destination owned and operated by the Hualapai tribe, security video bandwidth and storage requirements are reduced by the use of a feature called ACF – activity controlled frame rate. ACF is built into an IndigoVision IP camera and makes it act like an alarm motion detector. When no motion is detected in the scene, the video is transmitted at a very low frame rate. When motion is detected, video is automatically transmitted at the maximum frame rate configured.
Analytics on FireApplications seep into fire and life safety needs. There is man overboard detection on sea vessels and industrial processing that includes flame detection and other forms of volumetric processing like detecting steam plumes.
It is important to note that not all analytics software is a best fit for all situations. Some are better at bags left behind, others at motion in a dark tunnel. It is crucial that decision-makers and operations center personnel understand what analytics solutions to tap given a specific situation, suggests Dave Fowler of VidSys. Also, video can be driven by a variety of analytics solutions including analytics engines that are correlating events from multiple systems/devices. These all have a role into effective video analytics and data analysis, he says.
Wishing Upon an Analytics StarWhen asked about his wish list for future video analytics advances, here is what Francis D’Addario, emeritus faculty, strategic influence and protection innovation with the Security Executive Council, listed, especially when aimed at retail security but with application elsewhere.
• Diverse image recognition – barcode, biometric, lighting, facial, out of stock condition, package left behind, smoke, uniform, water, weapon, etc.
• Diverse acoustic suspicion recognition – glassbreak, gunshot, scream, tool attack, vehicle, voice, etc.
• Diverse transaction exception reporting – cash validation, credit, debit, return, receiving, out of stock.
• Integrated exception reporting of data sets for quality assurance – ambient temperature, refrigeration, utility usage, to name a few.
• Stakeholder consumer experience – Interactive capability to greet and confirm store openers, off-hours service personnel and deliveries, integrated with market messaging, entertainment, alerts.
• Artificial intelligence acquisition to learn and report risk mitigation opportunities from confirmed events.
• Consumer, personnel, suspect confirmation and for staffing and expedited attention.
• Conveyance, manifest, high-value item tracking and exception reporting.